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Preview: The Little Professor

The Little Professor

Things Victorian and academic.

Published: 2017-07-23T23:42:07-04:00


Some thoughts on the "unreadability" of Victorian religious fiction


My last post was about a novel that was well-nigh unreadable. By which I mean that, while I certainly read it, it was with a constant aggravated awareness that this novel violated pretty much any principle of formal coherence, aesthetic...

The Irish Priest; Or, What for Ireland?


There are some novels so poorly written and constructed that the critic winds up trying to argue that, surely, the failure must be intentional in some fashion. Take, for example, The Irish Priest; Or, What for Ireland? (1847), a rare...

Still Life with Artificial Plant and Cat


Title: Still Life with Artificial Plant and Cat. Materials: Cat (Amigo, age four); artificial plant; tablecloth; table. Commentary: In this deconstruction of the relations between artifice and nature, human and animal, object and living creature, the cat's own artistic agency...

This (Last) Week's Acquisitions


(A bit behind here.) Jane Austen, Teenage Writings, ed. Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford, 2017). New edition of Austen's juvenilia. (Free copy) Elizabeth Hamilton, The Cottagers of Glenburnie, and Other Educational Writing, ed. Pam Perkins (Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2010). New...

This Week's Acquisitions


(So, er, I did go to the Strand.) Leo Braudy, Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds (Yale, 2016). Historical analysis of how horror emerges and functions at moments of spiritual and...

Rowland Hill's Village Dialogues


Rowland Hill's enormously popular (and enormously long) Village Dialogues (1801; republished frequently thereafter) is notable, as Adrian J. Wallbank argues, for its "eclectic assortment of residual literary techniques and strategies of the type associated with eighteenth-century didacticism, catechetical guidance, parables,...

My contributions to the tiny house movement (so to speak)


There are times when you just need to make something that has nothing to do with your academic career. Start to finish time was eight months (October 2016-May 2017). About two months of that was actually tiling and painting the...

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street


This past week, I took my spring break trip to New York City...that is, the spring break trip I would have taken to New York City during my actual spring break, except that we were buried under a blizzard. In...

In which Amazon makes it harder to use its wishlists


Apparently, in the course of purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon decided it would be a good idea to reduce wishlist functionality. It did two things: eliminate pagination (so the list just loads, and loads, and loads, and...) and, more seriously, reduce...

This Week's Acquisitions


Charlotte Yonge, Stray Pearls: Memoirs of Margaret de Ribaumont, Viscountess of Bellaise (Macmillan, 1909). Reprint of one of Yonge's lesser-known novels, an autobiographical fiction set during the Fronde. (Better World Books) ALOE [Charlotte Maria Tucker], On the Way; Or, Places...

The problem of existing copies


That a book exists is not, you might think, a problem. When I was working at the British Library a couple of years ago, the more usual difficulty was that a book no longer existed, generally thanks to somebody dropping...

This Week's Acquisitions


Josephine Donovan, European Local-Color Literature: National Tales, Dorfgeschichten, Romans Champetres (Continuum, 2010). Analyzes early nineteenth-century "local-color" fiction as an attempt to engage with and critique aggressive modernization. (Amazon [secondhand]) Brian Stanley, The Bible and the Flag: Protestant Missions and British...

Over There


My review of Gillian Beer's Alice in Space is at Open Letters Monthly.

Mad Richard


In Lesley Krueger's fractured künstlerroman, Mad Richard, two apparently disparate creative careers intersect: that of the painter Richard Dadd and the novelist Charlotte Bronte, who briefly intersect in person during Bronte's visit to the Royal Bethlem Hospital in 1853. (Their...

This Week's Acquisitions


Cyrus Francis Perkins, Busha's Mistress; or Catherine the Fugitive. A Stirring Romance of the Days of Slavery in Jamaica (Markus Wiener, 2003). First scholarly edition of Perkins' anti-slavery novel, finished in the 1850s but not published until the early twentieth...